Decades ago, exploring the Philippines can be quite challenging. Those were the days when the interconnectivity between islands aren't that extensive and a number of accommodations every city are only a few. But all thanks to the increasing interconnectivity between regions and islands, the growth of hotel industry, and the rise of technology, traveling around the archipelago has been easier.
Here are some helpful tips for exploring the Philippines.
1) Book your hotel through mobile apps. There are a number of booking applications that are available on your smartphone. There is no need to look for hotels on a phone directory and call them overseas. These apps will leave you a myriad of choices base on your preferences in your accommodation. It can be a five-star hotel or a hostel. For example, if you're looking for a place to stay in Davao City, the app allows you to view several properties within the city (obviously). The user can also sort his searches according to reviews, hotel prices, and ratings. Some users can also avail secret deals, and special discounts if they are using the booking app frequently. Once you've settled on your preferred property, you can pay through credit card, or you may pay the property upon arrival. It's that easy! Also, most hotels allow free cancellations up to days before your stay. Traveling has never been this easy!
2) Plan early, and watch out for seat sales. Since the Philippines is an archipelagic country, the easiest way to explore around is through riding an airplane. In this day and age, flying becomes more accessible and cheaper to the public. It is not hard to score cheap fares, and local airlines periodically announce promo fares. If you don't want to miss their promos, you better subscribe to their website or better yet follow their social media handles. Pro tip: Since there's a huge wave of internet traffic on their website during seat sales (they usually start around midnight), I suggest to book your flights through their mobile apps. It is easier, and it is less prone to crashes or errors.
3) The Philippines is not just rich in natural resources, verdant landscapes, and azure waters. The country is subdivided into several regions and islands, making it culturally diverse. Aside from the plethora of local languages and dialects in a particular region, there are also festivals celebrated and revered by the locals. The Sinulog Festival of Cebu, Kadayawan Festival of Davao, Masskara Festival of Bacolod, Ati-Atihan of Aklan, and Moriones of Marinduque are just one of the few famous festivals in the country. Most of them are thanksgiving celebrations. One should plan ahead of time since these festivals tend to be jam-packed, and it can be challenging to find a decent place to stay. Moreover, flights to these cities tend to be very expensive since there are only limited seats available.
4) Take time to study and understand the weather and climate of the Philippines. There are two types of weather in this country - wet, and very wet. Kidding aside, the ideal month to travel in the Philippines, regardless of the region or island, is from January to May. The water is calmer, and the weather is more gentle. From June to November, the wind pattern over the Pacific changes hence, typhoons start to form. On average, there are twenty typhoons that enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility, more than half of which make a landfall causing damages to property and lives. I am not telling you not to travel around during the typhoon season, but one should be extra cautious. Sometimes, your flight gets canceled due to inclement weather. Therefore, travelers should have travel insurances in case something happens. There is no way that we can predict the future, but at least we are insured. Don't forget to have a copy of your airline and hotel bookings. Trust me, these documents will save you in case the typhoon ruins your vacation.
The Philippines is an interesting, and an underrated destination in Asia. There are emerging destinations in some parts of the country and has already gained popularity all thanks to social media. Right now, the tourism sector is gearing up to attract more tourists both here and abroad. I am hoping that the officials will look into sustainable growth and development of responsible tourism.